Printers and scanners are integral parts of any modern business. While these devices continue to evolve and improve office productivity, the associated costs are not the only concern your company should have when sourcing new equipment. As a part of the integrated office, a multifunction printer (MFP) remains a target for security exploits and often becomes the number one vulnerability in your business.
Benefits of Modern MFPs
Due to the many features that come with modern MFPs, deciding on which one is right for you depends on the exact way you conduct your daily business activities. The features can include printing, binding, collation, scanning, copying and digital (or for those who still need it, analog) faxing. While this may be the primary criteria for deciding on a manufacturer or model, keeping in mind the security and reliability of a device is actually just as important.
Once you’ve decided and sourced your desired MFP, you’ll need to maintain, service, and restock it regularly. Having a service provider take care of these tasks is becoming the standard model for the industry. It reduces the initial cost of acquiring new technology, sets a consistent budget for the company’s printing overhead, and ensures there is someone who can address your problems quickly.
However, with simply appointing a service provider to manage the operational requirements of the device, you’ll need to take responsibility for the equipment’s security. With more and more data breaches reported each year, and the exposure to reputational risks this creates for your Portland company, opting for a completely managed IT service solution may be the safer option.
Modern Managed IT Services and Infrastructure Solutions in Portland
Although it’s become standard practice to use a managed print services provider to reduce cost and establish control points that prevent misuse, managed IT goes one-step further. Simply opting for printers with the lowest cost per page may seem like an appropriate fiscal decision, it does however sometimes carry unforeseen risks.
Device security should be part of the decision-making process. Additionally, a comprehensive IT solution can reduce the overall overheads and further improve office efficiencies. With solutions that offer enhanced document control, automated workflows, electronic record keeping, and mobile device access, your company can reduce the number of hard copies while improving collaboration and information flow between departments.
There should also be a focus on network and data security. A Wi-Fi enabled printer with access to the internet is easily detectable by hackers. With ransomware and other exploits becoming a preferred method for nefarious individuals to shakedown companies, ensuring the entire digital landscape remains secure is critical.
Multifunction Printers’ Primary Benefits
The latest MFPs include access control and advanced security if they are configured properly and consistently supervised. These devices usually have USB, LAN and even WAN connection capabilities, so monitoring the firmware and device drivers should form part of the company’s information security policies.
A network firewall is only the beginning. You’ll also need advanced threat protection, user authentication (such as pull to print) as well as file encryption features included. While in-house IT departments can manage these tasks for most of your networked infrastructure, you’ll need OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) expertise to ensure the same is true of your MFPs.
Some of the benefits companies gain with MFPs include:
- Reduction of the print hardware’s footprint.
- Cost control and accurate cost allocation.
- Power savings capabilities with single device electricity consumption.
Multifunction Printer Best Practices
No matter what primary industry your company operates in, there are best practices when using a multifunction printer in the office. The first is to reduce the required number of prints in your company by enabling electronic file and document controls. Printing costs usually make up 2-3% of a company’s operational budget, so using electronic workflows and digital approvals instead of hard copies can easily reduce overheads.
Similarly, MFPs should integrate with your active directory in order to secure information, as well as track usage and allocate costs to the appropriate users or departments. Finally, you should regularly scan devices for changes to the firmware and device drivers. Exploiting these bits of software without your knowledge is easy, creating a backdoor to your company’s data and network.
Making use of a central management console will alleviate some of these concerns. However, expertise in the exact device and security requirements is invaluable to ensure your information security. Moving all IT infrastructure requirements to a Managed IT Service provider will give you peace of mind while transferring risk to an external entity.
Kelley Imaging – Your Managed IT Experts in Portland, Oregon
Kelley Imaging provides complete managed IT services, including managed print services and comprehensive technology consulting. With a team that’s served the Pacific Northwest since 1974, Kelley Imaging’s experts will ensure you improve your office’s productivity while ensuring you remain secured.
To improve the efficiencies of your staff and reduce your physical IT footprint, speak to one of Kelley Imaging’s consultants today.